Many Mets fans on this site, spent a great deal of time debating whether outfielder Angel Pagan was capable of playing leftfield everyday or if he was nothing more than a good fourth outfielder.
We had posts that wanted him as the leftfielder so that we could go after a starting pitcher over the winter rather than targeting Jason Bay or Matt Holliday.
I myself, saw Pagan as a great fourth outfielder and wanted the Mets to sign Jason Bay.
January came and with it the news that centerfielder Carlos Beltran had surgery on his knee and that he would miss the start of the season. Jason Bay was in the house so despite the big loss, we’d muddle our way through this mess with Angel Pagan in centerfield, and just in case we signed Gary Matthews Jr. as a backup plan.
My oh my how things have changed.
Can you believe that with Beltran getting healthier and news of his return in about 20 days, the airwaves and blogosphere are abuzz because Angel Pagan could lose playing time to Carlos Beltran who is arguably the team’s best overall player?
Angel Pagan has made great strides in the last two months, both in the minds of Mets management as well as the fanbase. After his four hit game last night, Pagan improved his batting average to .304 to lead the team. Additionally, Pagan ranks second on the team with 14 stolen bases and 41 runs scored, and third with 35 RBI’s. He has been a big presence at the top of the order and leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, can thank Pagan for all the fastballs he is seeing lately.
Nobody thought much of the trade that saw GM Omar Minaya reacquire Angel Pagan from the Cubs for Corey Coles and Ryan Meyers in January of 2008. It turned out to be another one of those under the radar moves that Omar has always been known for.
Last week I came across one popular Mets blog that hacked Omar to shreds for signing Gary Matthews Jr. among others. It ripped Omar for frequently targeting former players who played for him while he was with the Mets or Nationals organizations. Ironically, the same piece sang the praises of Angel Pagan which was a real head scratcher. I guess their only intent was discredit Omar for everything and give him credit for nothing. Real objective blogging at its best…
Too many fans unfairly rip Omar Minaya for signing low risk/high reward veterans like Mike Jacobs, Frank Catalanotto and Gary Matthews, yet they fail to give him credit for acting fast in axing them.
Jacobs’ second term with the Mets lasted less than a month, Catalanotto six weeks, and Matthews who was being paid considerably more lasted just over two months. Their replacements? Omar Minaya’s first round draft pick Ike Davis, followed by Chris “The Animal” Carter who Minaya attained in the Billy Wagner trade, and Jesus Feliciano, another Minaya find who has been tearing the cover off the ball at Buffalo two years running.
It’s no secret that Minaya was going to have a short leash this season with enigmas like Oliver Perez and John Maine, and so he did, replacing one with Jon Niese and the other with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Hisanori Takahashi was recruited from the bullpen and assumed the fifth spot in the rotation that had been Niese’s when the season started. The results speak for themselves or you could just look at the standings to see the real impact.
I’ve disagreed with Omar Minaya many times in the past, and even this past offseason I wished he had signed Lackey, Pineiro, Marquis or Sheets. Thank God he didn’t because obviously he knew what he was doing and the majority of us did not. Those of us who scoffed at the then insignificant signings of R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi, now duck for cover. Any yet another post I read recently mocked him for signing Clint Everts… Really?
I don’t know how the Mets will ultimately deal with the return of Carlos Beltran and the impact it will have on Angel Pagan. I’m not going to start throwing ideas at you because a lot can happen in the next three weeks. But one thing I’m not worried about is how Minaya will handle the situation when the time comes. He will do what is best for the team as he has always done. The fact is that no matter what he decides, it will spawn a hundred blogs criticizing and attacking him and his decision.
I’ve yet to read one post that calls this Pagan/Beltran situation what it truly is and that is a great problem to have. A great problem the other 29 MLB teams would love to have… A great problem architected in whole by Omar Minaya.